This dissertation focuses on a pedagogical analysis of the intersections of white racial identity, nationalism, and neoliberalism as they manifest and impact teachers and teacher education. After first detailing how my own family became white, I discuss my method in this work in two ways: first, as a form of Freirean Critical Study (an elaboration of Freire, 2006); and secondly, through an overview of Marxism, Marx's importance for working against neoliberalism, and the anti-capitalist foundations of the work. Next, I provide a conceptual history of white racial identity in the United States focusing on the ways in which whiteness is invented and imagined out of blackness and how this "inventing" functions to secure the material interests of the (white) owners of the means of production. I work to show how whiteness and white supremacy work to normalize and maintain capitalism through a logic of racial hierarchy and exclusion.
Using this historical analysis, I shift to a critique of two of the dominant forms of contemporary whiteness studies: "White Privilege" and "Race Treason." I show the ways in which our present dominant (hegemonic) conception of white antiracist action and pedagogy, white privilege discourse, fails to mobilize white people for material action to work against systemic racism by overemphasizing a critical flaw: white privilege is an effect of systemic oppression, not the cause, and thus a focus solely on privilege without a critical interrogation of oppression functions to maintain the status quo. I extend this analysis into the role of nationalism in white supremacy through examining the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, the formation and activism of the Tea Party, and the writing of Pat Buchanan to show the ways in which whiteness is made further complex, in the context of the United States especially, through its entanglement with nationalism.
Finally, I shift to the application of the above theorizations in teaching and teacher education. I demonstrate the ways in which the "professionalization" of teaching and other neoliberal reform efforts undermine critical, culturally relevant, and socially just approaches to pedagogy both in the classroom and at the programmatic level. I then provide the basis for an "anti-capitalist antiracist pedagogy;" first in the classroom, and lastly as a programmatic vision for teacher education. I conclude that such work is necessary, and inherently possible, as we imagine ways to combat the onslaught of white supremacist-nationalist-neoliberal logics that threaten the very existence of teaching for social justice and emancipation in our oppressive social order.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Timothy J. Lensmire. iii, 262 pages.
Casey, Zachary A..
From white supremacy to solidarity: a pedagogy of anti-capitalist antiracism.
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